Thursday, January 2, 2014

Not Exactly a Book Review: "Americashire: A Field Guide to Marriage"

Dear Jennifer Richardson,
I finished your book, "Americashire: A Field Guide to a Marriage," and thoroughly enjoyed reading it.  However, I've been having a heck of a time writing a book review.

It's a wonderful travel story of an American experiencing the beauty and charm of the English Cotswold culture by living as a local.  The descriptions of the people, customs, and countryside were poetic, especially in your description of the changing seasons:  "The Cotswolds of Matisse will slip into the diffused light of the Cotswolds of Monet." Ah! Such artistry with words. I found myself craving a cup of tea as I savored each chapter.

But it's also an interesting story of a married couple, from two different countries and backgrounds, who have to cope with each other's individual needs and the conflicts that can arise.  And it's also a story of an independent woman trying to discover what's really important to her (to have children or not, something I wrestled with many years ago).  And then there's a potential future diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis after one attack (maybe you'll develop it, maybe you won't), which caused me to study up on the Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS) of MS. [Note to readers: she was positively diagnosed a little over a year ago, and is now on Tecfidera.]

Although MS is not center stage in your story, you've done an amazing, humorous job of showing how the potential diagnosis gave you an opportunity to clarify your priorities and that you came to grips with "living with the not knowing." 

So how to write a book review of a book that spans so many genres?  How to write a review of a book that is a light travel gem and also a deep relationship koan?  And if I could write a review, is it something that my 34 blog followers would find interesting?  

Well, I guess we'll see.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share your story, and I'm looking forward to more from you.

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